Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Volunteering Can be Great for Your Spirit ...

Volunteering Can be Great for Your Spirit, Your Resume, and for Our Association   by Doreen Pendgracs, PWAC Vice President

Greetings to all my PWAC friends from across the region. PWAC RD Prairies and the North, Michelle Greysen, has been kind enough to ask me to write a post for this blog for two reasons:

1) I have been a long-time volunteer for PWAC—in the Manitoba chapter as membership chair and on the national conference committee in both 1998 and in 2008, as regional director from 1999-2003, as PWAC’s rep on the Access Copyright from 2003-2009, and then as your national vice-president 2011-2013.
2) I wrote a book about volunteerism—“Before You Say Yes: A Guide to the Pleasure and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards” and over the past 30 years, have served on a number of boards in various capacities.

I have chosen to step down from PWAC’s national board in June (and not run for president) as I have considerable demands on my time right now that will take the majority of my time and efforts. My new book, “Chocolatour: A Quest for theWorld’s Best Chocolate” has become a series of books that will take my time and focus from here to eternity.

All kidding aside, when I embarked on the research for this book in the fall of 2009, I had no idea it would morph into such a major project and would take over my life. It has taken me six months longer than anticipated to write the book (I’m almost finished the first edition) and then I must turn my efforts to the printing and promotion of the book to the world at large. I have already begun writing parts of the 2nd edition and eventually, there will be a third. I believe it was PWAC member Ann Douglas who said she considers each of her books to be a deposit into her RRSP, and I can really relate to that. Chocolatour has taken a huge amount of my time and effort, but I am hopeful that will pay off in a positive response to the book and brisk sales to provide me with some financial security for the years to come.

Have you considered volunteering for PWAC? Whether you choose to serve on a national committee, run for the national board, or serve your own chapter … each role is extremely important and critical to the success of our association. A non-profit association—be it a professional association such as PWAC, a community, special interest, or religious group—none can be successful without the untiring efforts of its volunteers.

We at PWAC are fortunate to have volunteers who have and will step up to the plate to ensure that PWAC continues to serve us well. Congrats to Michelle Greysen, who has served us well as Prairies & the North RD and has now agreed to run for national president. I am pleased to be one of Michelle’s nominators and am confident that she will do an excellent job.

I’m also thrilled to see that Marie Powell has agreed to let her name stand for the position of RD. I have known Marie since she joined PWAC and have seen her dedication to our association grow and help form a strong Saskatchewan chapter for PWAC. I know that Marie will do an excellent job in serving as RD if she is elected by our region.

You will have received the bulletin from the national office today asking for nominations to the national board. If you feel you would like to run, let nothing stop you. It would be great to have an election for all positions versus having an individual acclaimed. We have so many talented and insightful members across the Prairies and the North.  Let PWAC help you shine your light and develop skills you may not otherwise have found.

But know that volunteering for your own chapter or serving on a committee is equally important. I hope that each chapter is beginning to think about electing a new executive to take the helm come June. New people bring new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for our great association. Please help make PWAC strong by giving your time and energy to helping us move forward in achieving our collective goals.

Thanks for the opportunity to have served you over the past two years on the national board. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Toronto June (4-7) for PWAC@MagNet 2013 and look forward to leading a toast to our new president.

Most sincerely,

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Harnessing the Power of the Web: The Adventures in Parenthood Project

Guest Blog by Meghan J. Ward, PWAC Calgary / Banff

Living in the Canadian Rockies where outdoor enthusiasts abound, the subject of how to pursue adventures with small children is common. As an outdoor adventure writer I often find myself at the centre of these discussions. Many outdoor enthusiasts struggle to brave the changes that would result from starting a family, fearing it would negatively affect his or her adventure-filled lifestyle.

"We announced our transition to parenthood with a photo
at the top of the Bear's Hump,
Waterton Lakes National Park" (photographer Paul Zizka Photography). 

Being one such adventurer, I was eager to dig into the topic and dedicate a large writing project to it (which I hope will someday become material for my first book).
So, back in May 2012 I started The Adventures in Parenthood Project and launched a website to support my research.
My intention with the project was to cover the spectrum of adventurers – from professional risk-takers to the people who quietly go about their outdoor activities – in order to discover what it means for these kinds of people to transition to parenthood.

Since that time I have interviewed over a dozen outdoor adventurers, conducted a survey with 442 respondents and had the opportunity to write some memoir components – all of which I have begun unpacking somewhat on the project’s blog. In September I announced that my husband and I were expecting a baby in March, which has brought the project’s topic even closer to home.

I have been blogging for many years, but not about very personal issues. However, the challenge of writing memoir components for the project has allowed me to dig into the material through my own experience and leave a record that I will be able to look back on. The process of writing some of these posts, including How (Not) to Cross a Glacier in a Thunderstorm While You’re Pregnant and The Ultimate Alpine Start, has given me the opportunity to work through some of my own feelings on the topic, and in some cases has opened up a lot of discussion through the website’s comments feature. All of this material, including the interviews, survey results, blog posts and comments, will be invaluable to me when it comes time to write the book.

By putting The Adventures in Parenthood Project online I have opened it up to a much wider community. This has allowed me to benefit from new connections with other outdoorsy parents, and to network with new sources, ideas and websites, many of which I have now compiled in a list of Resources for readers. My ability to leverage all of my social media streams has been key to successful community building. 

I highly encourage other PWAC members to consider using the web as a platform for research ideas. You can never know what kinds of doors will open to you until you put your ideas out there. Finally, when it comes time to release your next book or publication, you will have already created a community that is eager to read and support your work.

I invite you to check out The Adventures in Parenthood and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter (@yaheweha), Google + and LinkedIn. My hub for all things freelance is meghanjoyward.com

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Antigonish Review Writing CONTEST ...

Thanks to Sask Chapter member Marie Powell for sharing this message sent to her from ...

Bonnie McIsaac
Office Manager, The Antigonish Review


$2,400 in Prizes!

Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize: Stories on any subject. Total entry not to
exceed 20 pages.

Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest: Poems on any subject. Total entry not to
exceed 4 pages. Maximum150 lines. Entries might be one longer poem, or
several shorter poems.

Deadlines: Fiction entries must be postmarked by May 31, 2013 and
Poetry must be postmarked by June 30, 2013

For complete submission guidelines, please go to
www.antigonishreview.com and click on contest.